2024 INSC 375





MOHAN LAL — Respondent

( Before : C.T. Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal, JJ. )

Special Leave Petition (C) No.25032 of 2014

Decided on : 03-05-2024

“Legal Opinion Not Enough: Supreme Court Dismisses State Appeal Due to Unexplained Delay”

Limitation Act, 1963 – Section 5 – Condonation of Delay – Delay of 1663 days – The State of U.P. filed a SLP against an order dated 13.11.2009 by the Allahabad High Court, with a delay of 1,633 days – The main issue was the condonation of the significant delay in filing the SLP – The State argued that the delay was due to the time taken for obtaining legal opinion and permissions, and later, the realization that the appeal was not filed initially – The application for condonation of delay was dismissed, and consequently, the SLP was also dismissed – The court found the explanation for the delay unsatisfactory, especially since the State was aware of the High Court’s order when it was passed – The court did not find sufficient cause to condone the delay, leading to the dismissal of the SLP.

The precedent set by the Supreme Court of India in this case is that:

1. A petitioner seeking condonation of delay in filing a special leave petition must provide a sufficient cause for the delay. Merely stating that the matter was entrusted to counsel or that the case was not properly followed up at any stage is not considered a sufficient cause.

2. Misleading or incorrect statements in the petition regarding related cases or their status can negatively impact the court’s decision on the condonation of delay.

3. The court will not condone a significant delay in filing a special leave petition if the petitioner had the opportunity to challenge the order earlier and failed to do so without a valid reason.


Rajesh Bindal, J. – The present petition has been filed impugning order[1] passed by the Division Bench of the High Court[2]. Along with the petition, an application has been filed seeking condonation of delay of 1,633 days in filing the present petition.

[1] Dated 13.11.2009 in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.34974 of 2001

[2] High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

2. A perusal of the application filed by the petitioner-State seeking condonation of huge delay of 1,633 days in filing the petition shows that to challenge the impugned order dated 13.11.2009 passed by the High Court the file was put up before the Competent Authority, Bareilly, for the first time on 13.04.2011. On this file the Competent Authority directed to seek legal opinion from the District Government Counsel (Civil)[3]. After receiving the legal opinion from DGC (Civil), permission was sought from the State Government which was granted and received by the petitioner on 16.09.2011. Thereafter, to explain the delay in filing the petition, the only plea taken is that the matter was entrusted to the counsel. However, later it was found that initially the appeal was not filed. It is further evident from the application that the case was not properly followed up at any stage. The explanation given for seeking condonation of huge delay of 1,633 days cannot be accepted, when it is not disputed that the petitioner-State appeared before the High Court and was heard before passing of the impugned order, so it was within their knowledge.

[3] Hereinafter referred to as DGC (Civil)

2.1 Another fact which may be noticed is that the petitioner-State at page K of the Synopsis and List of Dates has referred to Special Leave Petition (Civil).. ..CC.. ..No.21120 of 2013 titled as State of U.P. & others v. Vinod Kumar Tripathi & others stating therein that in the aforesaid petition identical issue was involved and this Court after condoning the delay had issued notice and the matter is still pending. The actual cause title of the Special Leave Petition (Civil).. ..CC.. ..No.21120 of 2013 is State of U.P. and others v. Sanjay Kumar and another. However, from a bare perusal of the order dated 13.12.2013 passed in the aforesaid petition annexed with this petition as Annexure P-7, it is evident that the aforesaid petition was dismissed on account of delay and on merits. Hence the statement was wrong and misleading.

2.2 Further, the petitioner-State in this petition has mentioned in its ground that in an identical case involving the same question of law, the petitioner-State had preferred S.L.P.(C).CC.No.21595 of 2013 titled as State of U.P. & Anr. vs Vinod Kumar Tripathi & Ors. in which this Court had issued notice, and the matter is still pending adjudication before this Court. However, the same has also been dismissed by this Court vide order dated 19.01.2016.

3. From the material placed on record, we do not find sufficient cause is made out for condonation of huge delay of 1,633 days in filing the present petition.

4. Consequently, the application for condonation of delay is dismissed. The Special Leave Petition is also dismissed.

By sclaw

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